Using Videos and Pictures to Get Athletes to Buy In

TAGS: using videos, using photos, translating to the field, joey bergles, feedback, strength increases, training athletes

Getting athletes to fully buy in to their training program and to you as their strength coach can be a tough task. Based on their previous training, or lack thereof, they may have reservations about your program and coaching. It’s been said thousands of times, but an average program with full commitment will outperform the best program in the world without a commitment to it. So as a strength coach or trainer, getting 100 percent commitment to your program is extremely important.

You can write and implement a great three-week wave on your dynamic squat day, but if the athletes aren’t fully committed to moving the bar as fast as possible, the results will be diminished. In accordance with this, most athletes don’t understand the same concepts that those with degrees, certifications, and years of training and coaching experience do. Ground contact times, force absorption, landing mechanics, shin angles—all of this is foreign to them, which is understandable. A great way to help them understand what you’re talking about is to show them through what they’re doing or not doing.

Getting them to understand

When I’m working with my athletes during plyometrics and agility work, I’m continually stressing how important it is to efficiently and effectively absorb the forces. For those already with the understanding, it’s obvious that the better we can absorb forces, the better we will be when utilizing the stretch shortening cycle and the fewer injuries we’ll experience. You can preach about how important it is, but many times athletes won’t fully comprehend just how important it is and why they need to be completely focused and give great effort when doing drills aimed at improving their ability to absorb force. Correlating it with ACL injuries when dealing with female athletes helps. Actually showing them through their movements, both in the weight room and on the field, puts snapshots in their minds that they won’t forget.

Using videos

I like to videotape my teams during their training. I’ll go back and replay the videos in slow motion, which helps me see many things that I didn’t see before. Foot, ankle, or hip positions during plyometrics, agility, or speed work can sometimes be challenging to notice during the middle of a training session, especially if there’s only you and fifteen to twenty of them. Doing this has helped me notice things that I didn’t at the time, such as an ankle collapsing, a knee caving in, or the hips not getting pushed back. After analyzing the videos, I’m able to better coach the athletes now that I have a better scouting report on them.

Taking this a step further, I’ll show the athletes what they’re doing, whether it’s right or wrong, to give them better feedback. When they can visually see what they’re doing, they’ll be more inclined to improve upon their deficiencies. After one of our training sessions, I put together a video of them performing some force absorption exercises and used a voiceover to record my feedback. I slowed the video down so that it was in slow motion, which allowed them to better see what they were doing. They’ve heard me talk about landing softly, keeping the knees in line with the hips, and sticking the landing. They now have the ability to watch what they’re doing and hear those same coaching ques. I posted the video on their Facebook page so everyone on the team could view it. I truly believe that this will help improve their performance and help them buy in to what we’re doing.


Using pictures

Pictures are also a great tool for getting your athletes to buy in, specifically snapshots from practices or games. Whether it be to show them how important it is to be strong on their plant leg or how their cutting mechanics need to be improved, showing them how they look during live action will always be extremely important to most of them. You can preach about why what they’re doing in the weight room is important, but when they see with their own eyes what they look like during a cut, they’ll more times than not realize how valuable their time in the weight room is.

Pictures also give you feedback as to whether what you’re doing in the weight room is translating to the field, which is obviously the most important thing. If you see a picture of an athlete with his hips too high and then six weeks later you see that athlete with his hips lower, you can be led to believe that what you’re doing is working. Obviously, this also works the other way around as well, showing you what you need to spend more time on or what you need to attack from a different angle. I posted these pictures as well as others on their Facebook page with comments for them to see.

This was after a 10-yard sprint. Obviously, I stressed how important it is to be strong and absorb force on the plant leg.

Be strong on the cut leg and use the hips, not the knees, to absorb force.

(In reference to the girl nearest the camera wearing black shorts and grey shirt). Obviously, we want the hips to be lower on the cut, which allows for better force absorption and more power to be expressed when driving off that cut leg.

Getting them to commit

You may disagree about using videos and pictures as a way to get your athletes to buy in. However, it’s hard to argue that taking pictures and videos, analyzing them, and showing them to your athletes takes a lot of extra time and effort. Athletes see this. They can tell if you really care about them like you say, or if you’re full of it. They’ll be much more inclined to give 100 percent to someone who is going that extra mile for them. This is just another way to show them that you’re willing to do everything in your power to make them better. Improving will be more important to them, as they know how much time and effort you’ve spent trying to make them better. When they truly care about what they’re doing in the weight room, they’re also more inclined to care about what they’re doing in practice, which translates under the bright lights on game day. A committed team in the weight room equals a committed team on the field.

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